Cameron Schwab

Cameron Schwab was appointed CEO of the famous Richmond Football Club at age 24, the youngest in the history of the game. He then spent the next 25 years as the CEO of three AFL clubs, the second longest serving CEO in the modern game.

The CEO roles Cameron took on all had something in common. The clubs were at their lowest ebb, uncompetitive on the field, and facing massive financial, structural and strategic challenges off it, which, in combination, threatened their survival.

The AFL is an unforgiving, unrelenting and often ruthless environment. Progress is hard-won, but in all cases, the fortunes of the clubs Cameron led were restored, both on and off the field.

A measure of his legacy is the fact that Richmond, Melbourne and Fremantle are now, by any measure, vibrant, financial and highly competitive clubs. Their supporters can look to the future with great hope and optimism.

Cameron has channeled his deep experience in leadership in professional sport and business, mentoring CEOs, senior and emerging leaders and their organisations across many industry sectors, those seeking to build high levels of cultural, strategic and leadership trust as the basis for sustained high-performance.

Cameron is also an artist, and there is a compelling creativity and originality in his storytelling and speaking. He explores the deep personal and professional challenges he faced as a leader, his openness, vulnerability and generosity creating a powerful connection with his audience, who will be reaching for their notebooks to record the insights and wisdom from a fully-lived leadership experience.

Background

After cutting his teeth as a recruiter at the Melbourne Football Club when the Demons made the finals for the first time in 23 years, Cameron was appointed CEO of the famous Richmond Football Club at age 24, the youngest in the history of the game.

For most of the next 25 years, he was CEO of Richmond, Melbourne and Fremantle, when those clubs were at their lowest ebb, both on and off the field. He is the second longest serving CEO in the modern game.

Having taken on some of the sport’s most difficult and daunting challenges, Cameron established a track record of building teams and organisations, unifying groups while navigating periods of genuine adversity and complexity.

He is a legacy-focused leader who has bounced back from setbacks, taking on the sport’s most challenging leadership roles.

Cameron holds an MBA and Master of Marketing from the Melbourne Business School. He has also completed the Advanced Management Program (AMP) at the Harvard Business School and is a Vincent Fairfax Fellow of the Centre of Ethical Leadership at University of Melbourne. He received his Coaching Certification from the Columbia Business School in New York.

His articles on sport and leadership have been published in The Age newspaper.

Cameron is also an artist and illustrator, studying Fine Art at the Victorian College of the Arts (VCA). 

Speaking topics

The Score Takes Care of Itself - Aligning Purpose and Performance

Concept:

Elite sport is awash with contradictions and complexity.

What is most often misunderstood, is professional team sport is not club versus club, it is system vs system - developed and implemented by the leaders of those organisations.

It is my experience, that leaders and their organisations do not rise to the level of their ambition, they fall to the standard of their systems.

It is the system that establishes the behaviours, aligned to purpose, that in turn institutionalises the values and culture, to achieve the goals of high performance organisations.

Outcome:

Cameron delivers a game-changing framework that aligns purpose and performance, particularly as it relates to the complex mix of culture, strategy, leadership and decision-making judgment.

Then, as Hall of Fame NFL coach Bill Walsh would say… “The score takes care of itself.”

Being Brave - The Authentic, Vulnerable and Courageous leader

Concept:

As a leader, you are both the observer and the observed.

You are being observed, even when you are losing confidence, results are down and you’re trapped in the busyness and complexity of modern leadership, emotionally drained and feeling isolated.

You are struggling and don’t know where to get help without showing weakness, unsure of whether you have what it takes to turn-it-around, personally and organisationally.

You are trapped in this cycle, when trying harder will simply not be enough.

So, what do you do?

Outcome:

Cameron models his ‘Being Brave’ mantra - a seven-step process to find the answers for yourself, rebuild confidence, and be the leader you aspire to be.

Leadership is about the example you set and the culture you create

Concept:

Your words tell others what you think, your actions tell them what you believe.

The best leaders are not the most talented or gifted, they have established outstanding leadership and performance behaviours and habits.

Behaviours are the product of personal and organisational habits, good and bad. For organisations with high-performance ambitions, or seeking turnaround, it will be the aggregation of marginal gains that will be the key to transformation.

Great leaders have turned self-responsibility into a daily practice, performance habits that compound over time to establish their personal leadership mastery.

Leaders then create leaders.

Outcome:

Cameron articulates four core leadership habits, immediately executable, to create the behaviours and culture to lead with authenticity and achieve high performance outcomes.

Levelling Up - What business can learn from professional team sport

Concept:

Business often turns to the football codes when seeking to understand the key concepts of team, particularly, the role of leadership in terms of establishing a winning culture and executing a game plan.

The best leaders I have worked with and studied in sport and business, all shared one key competency.

While they may have approached the role with different philosophies and methodologies, they successfully created environments that enabled their teams and organisations, to access the full range of their capabilities.

A winning organisation is an environment of personal and professional development, in which each individual takes responsibility and shares ownership.

Outcome:

Cameron fully explains a seven-step process, immediately executable, enabling leaders to establish performance accountability, where people consistently set high expectations of themselves and behave to those expectations, and most importantly, do the right thing, even when it’s hard.

Testimonials

As a leader, you want a coach that makes you better. Cameron Schwab makes me better. End of story.
Every Session grabs my attention.
Through sharing stories or leaning on his diverse experience and incredible curiosity and creativity, he makes every session a work of art.
- Michael Voss – Senior Coach, Carlton Football Club

I’ve had the privilege of listening to Cameron talk about leadership and life twice now. I was so impressed the first time that I asked him to present to my Leadership Team.
You could have heard a pin drop on each occasion and everyone, sports enthusiast or not, got so much out of the session. Cameron tells a powerful, entertaining, and deeply personal story that resonates with everyone who has experienced change and challenge.
- Joe Bar – Chief Executive Officer, John Holland

It was truly incredible to sit in the energy of a room of people completely captivated by your storytelling.
Your vulnerability and the art you have mastered in weaving your personal story into some incredible lessons for leadership and life.
Thank you Cameron for a very moving and insightful session with our key clients overlooking the MCG. The feedback on the day and in the messages posted was just fantastic. We are very grateful.
- Suzie McInerney – CEO, Six Degrees Executive

You’ll be learning from the very best I have seen.
- Rodrigo Pizarro – Managing Director, L’Oreal Australia and New Zealand

The immersive leadership masterclasses have been exceptional, skillfully integrating expertise in leadership, culture and strategy. Cameron adeptly captivated the Senior Leadership Team by intertwining personal and leadership storytelling, drawing parallels to sport and sharing his profound knowledge. The engagement of designCEO has been a valued investment by the Council. I recommend partnering with Cam for those seeking to fortify leadership capabilities, enrich your professional acumen and contribute to shaping a more dynamic team culture.
- Jodie Taylor – Chief Executive Officer, Western Downs Regional Council

Cameron Schwab speaker

Speaker Video

Cameron Schwab - Play your own game

Cameron Schwab - Play your own game

Cameron Schwab - Loved, Liked, Respected...Trusted

Cameron Schwab - Loved, Liked, Respected...Trusted

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